Saint Kentigern Middle College Music Programme.jpg

As a subject, Music is one of the four separate Arts disciplines — Dance, Drama, Music and Visual Arts — that make up the ‘essential learning’ area of The Arts in the New Zealand Curriculum.

It is a curriculum requirement that all students in Year 7 take courses covering each of the disciplines meaning that both boys and girls at this age have a ‘taste’ of Music as a future area of study.

In Years 8 and 9, students are required to select two of the Arts disciplines for each year of study and thereafter, the Arts become part of a range of optional subjects for selection, leading to formal NZQA qualifications.

Saint Kentigern Middle College Music Curriculum.jpg

The Saint Kentigern College Music Department offers a diverse range of musical opportunities for students of all ages at the College. Students have access to a purpose-built Music Centre which boasts a central rehearsal auditorium, three large ensemble rooms, a keyboard lab, two classrooms and nine soundproof studios, each with its own piano. 

Many of our Middle School students arrive at College already proficient on a music instrument. Others take advantage of the itinerant music programme that offers students lessons on a wide range of instruments, as well as vocal lessons. 

As a result of the strong teaching programme, the College has a large number and varied range of instrumental groups and ensembles that both perform and compete throughout the College year. There is also a very strong choral programme. 

A distinctive and appealing feature of the music programme is the Pipes and Drums. The band, one of only three in New Zealand schools, is an integral part of many events in the College calendar. The unique skirl of the bagpipes can be heard at many of our College functions from prize givings to rugby matches. The Middle School is the training ground for the Pipes and Drums with students playing in our 2nd Band before progressing to the The Pipes and Drums of Saint Kentigern.

Saint Kentigern Middle College Music Bands.jpg


A large number of our Middle College students take part in the itinerant music programme at the College, taking advantage of the visiting specialist music staff who provide lessons each week on a wide range of instruments. These may be students who are learning a musical instrument for the first time, or others who are already proficient on one instrument but seek to gain new skills on another. As a result, there are a number of students who play in more than one of our performance groups playing a different instrument in each. In recent years, our music ensembles have flourished. 

Many of the College groups and ensembles play in festivals and competitions, notably the annual Auckland KBB Festival held at the Town Hall each year. Our musicians are always favourably placed amongst the top results. 

In addition to the traditional competitions, we also have a growing number of students who enter the Smokefree Rockquest. 

The annual calendar is full of music events with opportunities for students to perform both individually or as a group at either small evening gatherings, to encourage confidence in our learners, or in significant concerts for large audiences. 

For our most advanced Middle School musicians, the highlight of the year is the Middle School Solo Music Competition. A series of auditions brings 12 soloists in four categories to the stage in front judges to compete for the coveted title of Soloist of the Year. 

Whether a student learns music to become a top performer, to enjoy the camaraderie of making music as a group or simply for personal pleasure, there are many musical avenues to explore in the Saint Kentigern Music Department.

Large Ensembles 

• Concert Band

• Stage Band

• Orchestra

• Chamber Orchestra

• Sinfonia

• The Pipes and Drums

• Number 2 Pipe Band

• Musical Orchestra 


Small Ensembles 

• Premier Jazz Combo

• Middle College Jazz Combos 

• Various Chamber Groups

• Various Rock Bands



The itinerant music programme provides tuition for students who wish to hone their choral skills and during the year, there are many opportunities for our vocalists to perform as part of a full choir at a number of performance evenings.

Alongside our auditioned choir, Kentoris, there are three other main choirs for students with a love of singing. Menasing, our powerful, award winning Year 9 - 13 boys' choir and Musettes, our stunning Year 9 - 13 girls' choir, bring students of all ages together for both performance and competition. Our Massed Choir brings together students of all age groups who love to sing in unison.

Our choirs are also entered in the Auckland Regional section of the New Zealand Choral Federation's BIG SING competition held in the Auckland Town Hall each year where our performances are regularly commended at a high level. 

Each year, the College produces two significant musicals, one for the Middle College and a major Senior College production. Our top vocalists make a commanding presence in their leading solo roles for these productions. 

There is a further choral event on the annual calendar that is enjoyed by an even larger number of vocalists. Our annual, sell-out House Music Evening brings six large House Choirs with over 200 students per choir, together with a choir from Bruce House, our boarding facility, to the stage, all vying for the coveted House Music Cup. 

Each House also showcases their most talented musicians in the ‘band’ competition. This evening is a huge amount of fun that gives a large number of students the chance to discover the love of singing and the thrill of performing in a professional venue.

The Pipes and Drums of Saint Kentigern

The skirl of the bagpipes, the beat of the snare drums; these sounds hold a special place in the hearts of Scots, those of Scottish descent and our own extended Saint Kentigern family. 

Saint Kentigern College may be on the other side of the world and far removed from the Scottish Highlands, but it is irrevocably linked to a Scottish ancestry with which we closely identify; students, staff and families alike. The sound of our Pipes and Drums stirs our blood; it connects us to one another, it connects us to the past. 

Since they first paraded in 1958, the Saint Kentigern Pipes and Drums have taken on the role of cultural ambassadors for Saint Kentigern; performing at ceremonial occasions on all campuses, welcoming guests to the College and lending support to our top sporting teams at important events. 

One of the highlights of the College year is the annual Ceilidh that brings the Saint Kentigern community together for a hugely enjoyable evening of traditional Scottish country dancing along with a superb dinner of Scottish fare. Diners are led into dinner by the Pipes and Drums and are treated to a spine-tingling drum fanfare. Likewise, the Pipes and Drums are in attendance to lead the parades at our two primary College celebrations — Celtic Day at the Boys’ School and Flora McDonald Day at the Girls’ School. 


In addition to performances on campus, the band regularly appears in public in and around the Auckland area and enters competitions each year at local and national level where the band is always recognised with an award. 

The band also regularly travels much further afield to compete - when they make their pilgrimage to Scotland to tour, perform and take part in Scottish competitions and Tattoos. 

Wearing the Hunting McFarlan tartan in honour of our founding Headmaster, the Pipes and Drums are a special cultural feature and a proud tradition at the College. Saint Kentigern is one of only three Colleges in New Zealand to offer tuition in both Piping and drumming.